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“A LIFE IS LIVED LIKE A COURT CASE TRIAL. YOU END UP DEFENDING EVERY VALUE YOU EVER STOOD FOR”
― Vineet Raj Kapoor
Thai Legal System
The Act on the Establishment of, and Procedure for, Labor Court B. E. 2522 created this court in 1979. It separates cases and issues surrounding employment from regular civil cases through the application of the Labor Protection Act of 1998 and the Civil and Commercial Code, employment acts and statutes. The Ministers of Justice and the Interior were in charge of the Act and authorized to issue regulations that would implement it. The Central Labor Court has jurisdiction over the entire country and is located in Bangkok.
This Court handles all disputes relating to emplloyment, such as labor protection, unfair labor practices or discrimination, and relations, appeals on labor decisions by labor officials or by the Minister concerning wrongful acts in labor disputes or performance.
Composition and Terms
A quorum consists of a career judge, one associate judge for employer rights and another for employee rights for the court to adjudicate. They and recruited laymen must all possess competent knowledge of, and experience in, labor law and employment matters. These two associate judges are elected by respective organizations of employers and labor unions within a given territory of a labor court. They are trained for their official functions, hold their respective offices and may be reappointed.
Section 12 of the Act states that these judges shall be the King’s appointees from among judicial officials in the government who possess the required knowledge, expertise, experience and insights on labor problems and matters. A Chief Justice will also be appointed for the Central Labor Court and in each of the nine regional labor courts. The Minister of Justice shall appoint the number of Deputy Chief Justices according to the individual needs of the regional courts.
Section 14 provides for the appointment of associate judges by the King from among the representatives of employer and employee organizations from the list of the Labor Department. In the absence of such organizations in a given region, the King will appoint the representatives from the list compiled by the Labor Department for both employers and employees. They shall qualify as Thai nationals, as sui juris, residents of the region or territory with jurisdiction over the given labor court and must have faith in the democratic rule of the King as the head of state. Proposed representatives shall be disqualified if they are bankrupt, incompetent or quasi-incompetent; have been sentenced to imprisonment as final verdict except when committed by neglect or a petty offense; convicted of any offense against the labor protection or relations law unless released for no less than two years or the lapse of the suspension of imprisonment period; or are political officials, committee members of any political party, the National Assembly, of the Bangkok Metropolitan Assembly or an elected member of the local council or a legal practitioner.
Before they assume office, the appointees shall solemnly declare that they will perform their duties with impartiality towards employers or employees and to treat official secrets with utmost confidentiality. They shall do so before the Chief Justice of the Central Labor Court or of the regional labor court or the provincial court where they belong. They will serve for two. The King may reappoint those among them who will retire.
Their appointment shall cease with the expiration of their term; death; resignation or the uncovering of a lack of qualification or commission of any disqualifications above mentioned; upon conviction and when sentenced with imprisonment by final verdict or court order; or when the King terminates his appointment because of unjustified absences for two consecutive times or when found guilty of any act that leads to dismissal, according to the law on judicial service. A judicial service commission must approve the termination or dismissal due to the fourth and sixth offenses.
The first step is mediation, which is mandatory. If no agreement is reached, the dispute is elevated to the court for trial. At any stage during the trial, the litigants can choose to come to a settlement and opt for mediation. But if the trial proceeds, it must be concluded in three days.
Appeals filed at the Central Labor Court proceed directly to the Supreme Court. But only appeals of a decision or order, based on questions of law, are admissible and must be submitted within 15 days from the issuance of the decision or order.
- Disputes over the rights or duties stipulated in an employment agreement or their state;
- Disputes over rights or duties under the labor protection law;
- Disputes over rights that need to be exercised under the labor protection law or labor relations;
- Appealed cases under the labor protection law or rendered by the Labor Relations Committee or the Minister on labor relations;
- Cases of wrongful acts in the process of a labor dispute or performance under an employment agreement; and
- Labor disputes from the Minister relating to labor relations.
These can be filed only on the question of law and with the Supreme Court within 15 days upon the pronouncement. An appeal shall first be filed with the labor court that hands down the questioned decision. The labor court shall serve a copy of the appeal to the respondent within seven days from the date of filing of the appeal. If the respondent does not submit an answer or fails to answer within the specified period, the labor court shall promptly elevate the appeal with the Supreme Court.
An appeal does not interrupt the execution of the verdict or order but the party that appeals may submit grounds in applying for an order for the stay of the execution with the Supreme Court. In this case, the Supreme Court shall promptly act on the appeal by relying on the facts established by the labor court. Should there be an insufficiency of facts, the Supreme Court shall order the labor court to hear the case in order to secure further facts. When done, the case should be filed with the Supreme Court promptly. If the labor court finds that new facts may change its decision, it will have to declare a new verdict by applying mutatis mutandis. The Supreme Court may establish a Labor Case Division within the Supreme Court itself. Its function will be to adjudicate appealed labor cases. And when necessary or in the interest of justice, The Supreme Court may also seek the expertise of knowledgeable individuals to appear and provide their opinion on these cases for the Supreme Court’s consideration.
These are the Central Juvenile and Family Court, the provincial juvenile and family courts, and the juvenile and family divisions of provincial courts. A quorum in each of them requires two career judges and two lay judges, one of whom must be female. An appeal against a decision of, or an order by, any of these courts must be filed with the Courts of Appeal.
There was a need to adjust the law on the establishment and procedure currently implemented by this Court in view of its new structure. It remained under the authority of the Ministry of Justice while all other courts have become independent of the Ministry..It was also necessary to adjust or improve the provisions on the rights, protection, welfare and practices of all family members. These provisions included procedures that would align with those of the Constitution, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. These were the bases of the enactment of the Juvenile and Family Court and its Procedure Act B. E. 2553.
Background and History
As a separate court in 1951, it created the Juvenile Court and Child Observation and Protection Center. That was the first time that juvenile treatment and rehabilitation received proper attention and implementation. The 1991 Act for the Establishment of, and Procedure for, Juvenile and Family Court enhanced this development when enacted. It focused on the protection of the rights of children as well as those of the rest of the family. It evolved from the international concept of the family as an important foundation and institution of society itself. It was in recognition of the reality and significance of family problems that affect the members’ mental state and lives themselves. Up to late 2002, the Juvenile and Family Court was part of the Office of the Judiciary. The Center was part of the Ministry of Justice. The following year, Bangkok installed two juvenile and family courts and several of them in each of the 77 provinces. The Juvenile and Family Court and Procedure of 2010 is the current law.
The minimum age for a criminal conviction was 10. A convict younger than 10 was, instead, committed to a child protection facility. This Court or the law neither punished young convicts aged 10 to 15 but applied other measures for their offenses. These measures were admonition of the young convicts before their release and of their parents and ordering their parents to care for the young convicts for not more than three years. The court could resort to the second measure if it ascertained that the parents could assure that the youngsters would not repeat the offense. The Court assessed the sense of responsibility and other capabilities of young convicts between 15 and 18 if he or she deserved some punishment. That punishment, however, was only half of what it entailed if he or she were an adult.
Section 3 of Article 40 of the 2008 Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights amended these provisions of all member-signatories. It requires them to set a minimum age for child criminal offenders who shall be presumed incapable of breaking criminal law. It, however, leaves the decision on the specific age to member-signatories. The initial absolute minimum age considered by the Committee in 2007 was 12. It later decided that 12 was low and encouraged the members to raise it to 14. It further commended member-states, which would raise it to 15 or 16.
Fair trial shall be the hallmark of the entire legal process. It shall occur only in appropriate places without any form of discrimination or the presence of other un-involved accused or other individuals. The proceedings shall use only simple, common and easily understandable language, especially to the young parties. The court shall present the legal advisor. The parent or guardian of the young parties may attend the trial. The court shall also be a special room not used for ordinary litigations. And the judge shall not wear the customary gown.
The young accused shall have the full right to participate actively in the entire duration of the investigation and trial. He and his parents or guardian shall have the full opportunity to state their perceived facts or interpretation of these, their feelings and opinions. They also have the right to present their witnesses and to cross-examine the witnesses of their opponent at any time during the trial. Every phase of the trial has time limits and the judge must render a verdict within six months from the filing of the case.
The privacy of the case and the parties shall receive full respect from all. The law does not allow media or personal coverage of the trial or any means of revealing or identifying the parties or anything about him or her. The court shall automatically extinguish all criminal records of young offenders when they reach 18. Young convicts of serious offenses may also request the destruction of their criminal records subject to conditions.
Member-states shall find ways of preventing court proceedings or convictions, such as through diversions.
Juvenile and Family Cases Escalate
Chief Judge Jiraniti Hawanon of the Central Juvenile and Family Court reported an alarming increase of cases filed in his court this month alone. He referred to the 120 civil cases and 130 cases for trial against young offenders. Of these numbers, 40% are drug offenses, 30% thefts and 10% sexual offenses. He stated these figures in his speech during a seminar when discussing the 2010 amendment to the 1991 Court. The amendment aims at reducing the number of cases, especially unnecessary ones, from getting filed at his Court. He emphasized that the amendment also aims at eliminating the routine of jailing young offenders.
He enumerated the Court’s four methods of discouraging the youth from the commission of crimes. These are counseling, rehabilitation, a community network to monitor and handle juvenile problems and issues, and some social power to contain and change the behavior of the young.
He pointed out that filing cases at the juvenile and family courts should be the last recourse. He expressed confidence that if the efficient implementation of the said four methods could solve, reduce or prevent the majority of juvenile problems.
The Ratthathammanun of 1977
This was the Constitutional Court of the Kingdom of Thailand, an independent court by the 1997 Constitution. It exercised jurisdiction over the constitutionality of royal decrees and acts of parliament, appointments and terminations of public officials and all the concerns of political parties.
Background and Highlights
A coup d’etat in 2006 created and installed a constitutional tribunal that, in turn, abolished this constitution and replaced this court. It had only nine members who were all selected from the judiciary. In comparison, the 1997 Constitutional Court had 15 members , seven from the judiciary and eight chosen by a special panel. The 2007 Constitution replaced it again and still with nine members. Heated public debates plagued the Constitutional Court. These mainly centered on jurisdiction, the composition and the initial appointment of justices and, most importantly, its extent of control over the court.
All its verdicts and orders are final or cannot be appealed and binding in all government offices and entities, including other courts, the Council of Ministers and the National Assembly.
These successive changes in court structure, membership, jurisdiction and other aspects resulted in a corresponding series of important decisions. Among them were the 1999 decision to retain Newn Chidehop as deputy minister despite an imprisonment sentence for defamation; the acquittal of Thaksin Shinawatra from the crime of filing an incomplete statement of assets at the National Anti-Corruption Commission; the voiding of the appointment of Jaruvan Maintaka as auditor-general in 2003; the abolition of the Thai Rakh Thai political party, the Raksa Chart Party in March 2019 and the Future Forward Party last year; and the termination of prime minister Yingluck Shinswatra’s office in 2014.
Nurak Marpraneet has been its president from September 2019.
The 2007 Constitution Court
This current Constitution Court decides petitions:
- on the validity of the resolution or regulation of a given political party or contrary to petitioner’s status or functions as that party’s representative or to the government’s fundamental democratic principles;
- if any person or political party is indeed exercising his or its constitutional rights and freedoms or actually opposing the democratic regime of the government, headed by the king and intending to seize power over it through illegitimate means;
- if a senator or representative has lost his membership;
- if the resolution made by a political party to terminate a representative’s party membership is contrary to his status or functions as such or to the fundamental democratic principles of the government, headed by the king;
- on the constitutionality of the draft of an organic act already approved by the National Assembly;
- if such a draft or one introduced by the council of ministers or representatives should, in principle, be suppressed;
- on the constitutionality of a bill already approved by the National Assembly per Section 510 but not yet submitted by the prime minister to the king; or reapproved by the National Assembly but has not been resubmitted by the prime minister to the king; or if its enactment complies with Constitutional requirements;
- on the constitutionality of draft rules of order of the House of Representatives, the Senate or the National Assembly, already approved by them but have not been published in the government gazette; or if their enactment complies with Constitutional requirements;
- on whether a motion, motion amendment or action of a draft bill on an annual expenditure budget under consideration by the House of Representative, Senate or committee representative senator or committee member directly or indirectly allows a representative, senator or committee member to be involved in disbursing the said budget;
- on whether a minister loses his ministership individually;
- on whether an emergency decree is an enactment against Section 184, paragraph 1 or 2 of the Constitution;
- on whether a written agreement requires prior parliamentary approval by the executive branch if that agreement:
- contains a provision that may alter Thai territory or territorial territories it can capably exercise sovereignty or acquire jurisdiction through a written agreement or operations of international law;
- the enactment of an act is necessary for its execution;
- it will assert considerable impact on the national economy or the security of its people; or
- it will very likely incur or bind the country’s national trade investment or budget.
- on the constitutionality of the application of a legal provision to any case filed at a court of justice, a military or administrative court;
- on the constitutionality of any legal provision, such as when a person’s constitutionally recognized right or freedom is violated or deprived;
- to rule on conflicts of authority between the National Assembly and the Council of Ministers or between two or among more than two constitutional institutions of government aside from the courts of justice and administrative and military courts;
- on situations confronted by an election commissioner such as a lack of qualification, a charge of disqualification or the commission of a prohibited act;
- on the dissolution of a political party believed or reported to have attempted to overthrow the government or intends to do so by means not recognized by the Constitution;
- on the constitutionality of any legal provision under Section 245 involving ombudsmen; and
- on the constitutionality of any legal provision involving human rights.
It consists of
- Three Supreme Court of Justice chosen by its plenum by secret ballot;
- Two Supreme Administrative Court chosen the same way;
- Two law experts as approved by the Senate upon their selection by a special panel. This panel is, in turn composed of the Supreme Court of Justice president, the president of the House of Representatives, the leader of the opposition, and one chief from among the constitutional independent agencies; and two experts in political science, public administration and other social sciences as approved by the Senate upon the selection of the panel.
Major Decisions by this Constitutional Court
- The Unconstitutionality of Emergency Economic Decrees
- The Treaty Status the Letters of Intent by the International Monetary Fund or IMF
- The Constitutionality of the Appointment of Jaruvan Maintaka by the Senate as Auditor-General
- A Petition against the Conflict of Interest by Thaksin Shinawatra and His Impeachment
- The Dissolution of Political Parties after the April 2006 Election\
- The Rejection of the Petition by the Ombudsman against the Prime Minister and His Cabinet regarding the Incomplete Recitation of the Oath
- The Court’s Verdict on General Prayut as not a State Official for not Possessing Authority as Prime Minister.
By nature, a tax case is not an ordinary civil matter. It is essentially a dispute on a certain provision or detail between a taxpayer and the tax agency of the government, often involving tax administration. Tax cases emanate from different laws and disciplines like economics and its systems and the principles of intellectual property. Tax disputes almost naturally involve tax collection that just as naturally affects national revenue and public interest unavoidably.
In response to the need to manage tax cases, the government enacted the Establishment of, and Procedures for, the Tax Court on September 5, 1985. This Act set up the tax division within 240 days from the publication of the Act in the Royal Gazette. This division operated separately but under the Civil Court on and from March 25, 1985 until replaced by the Central Court of Thailand in August, 1986 under the same Act.
Established in Metropolitan Bangkok and inaugurated by Royal decree, the Central Tax Court exercises authority over tax cases throughout Bangkok Metropolis and the provinces of Samutprakarn, Samutsakorn, Nakorn Pathom, Nonthaburi and Pathumthani. Tax cases outside this jurisdiction may still be filed with it and it reserves the right to take or reject them unless officially transferred to it by the provisions of the Act or that of the Civil Procedure Code.
The Central Tax Court is at the Civil Court building on Ratchadapisek Road, Chomphon Sub-district of the Chatuchak District in Bangkok.
An Act must create provincial tax courts and state their jurisdiction, which may cover different provinces.
Only a tax court that has been inaugurated is the only court of first instance that can accept and adjudicate cases within its jurisdiction. If there is confusion as to jurisdiction of any tax court or another court of justice over a particular case, the President of the Supreme Court shall decide and the decision shall be final.
If the litigants of a pending case at a provincial tax court wish to have it transferred to the Central Tax Court, the provincial tax court may do so only with the permission of the Central Tax Court
- Appeal against a taxation verdict rendered by a competent authority in the field;
- State claims over tax debts;
- Tax refunds;
- Right or duty arising from an obligation to collect taxes; and
- All others prescribed by tax courts as within their jurisdiction.
Appeals against a taxation decision or order rendered by a competent authority can be filed if the proceeding has already been performed according to the prescribed rules, methods and period for them or the appeals have already been decided.
Similarly, appeals for tax refunds may not be filed at the tax court only if the initial proceedings for them have already been performed according to the prescribed rules, methods and periods for them.
Composition of the Tax Courts
A Chief Justice and deputy justices head the Central Tax Court. The Minister of Justice determines the number of deputy chief justices. Only one Chief Judge shall head each provincial tax court. The King shall appoint all of them from among the judicial officials rendering judicial service who possess the qualifying expertise and expertise in taxation. Tax disputes must, therefore be assigned to the judges with specific or precise expertise and experience in the given issue. This will assure an accurate, just and prompt verdict. Furthermore, two judges must be present during trial and to adjudicate. In addition to adjudication, a tax court judge is authorized to issue any order or conduct any proceeding.
All the proceedings in handling cases at the tax courts shall follow the provisions of this Act as set forth under Section 20. Otherwise, such proceedings shall comply with those of the Civil Procedure Code mutatis mutandis.
Either litigant may appoint a resident within the jurisdiction of the tax court to receive pleadings or any document for the litigant. The litigant must first request the competent court and obtain its approval before an outside party may receive pleadings or documents for a litigant. A similar request may be made if the litigant does not reside or operate a business within the jurisdiction of the tax court where the litigant’s case is filed. For convenience, the court may then order the litigant to appoint a resident within the jurisdiction to receive documents in his or her behalf. If the litigant refuses or does not take the option, a notice may be posted at the court about the documents. If the concerned party does not respond to the notice to collect the documents after seven days of posting, he or she will be notified by other means. The service shall be similar to that provided under the Civil Procedure Code. Service by other means shall lapse after 15 days.
The tax court has the power to reduce or increase the period of the trial according to this Act. For convenience, fairness and judiciousness, the Chief Justice of the Central Tax Court with the approval of the President of the Supreme Court may issue rules on proceedings and the trial of evidence. These rules will become effective upon publication at the Royal Gazette.
The tax court or the Supreme Court may ask any expert or knowledgeable person for his or her opinion during trial for the court’s consideration. For their part, litigants may also call experts or knowledgeable witnesses or any individual for his or her opinion during trial.
The expert or knowledgeable person who is invited by the tax court or the Supreme Court is entitled to an allowance and expenses for transportation and accommodations. This is in accordance with the regulations by the Ministry of Justice.
More on Appeals
Appeals must be filed with the Supreme Court within a month upon the handing of a verdict or order.
Appeals shall be made only on questions of fact when the asset or disputed amount is not more than 50,000 baht. This is so when the judge issues a dissenting opinion or certified to a ground for appeal. If he did not, an appeal must secure the approval of the Chief Justice of the Central Tax Court.
The provisions of the Civil Procedure Code apply to an appeal involving an order for the imprisonment, detention or fine of a person under the Civil Procedure Code provisions. They also apply to an appeal against an order for provisional measures before a verdict or its execution.
The President of the Supreme Court shall establish a tax section at the Supreme Court to try appeals from the tax court. He may also consider it appropriate for judges to decide questions of law of tax cases at a general meeting.
The devastating effects of the 1997 Asian financial crisis on many neighboring countries in Southeast Asia spurred Thailand into radically reviewing its banking and financial structures to cope with or parry the effects. A major response was the corporate restructuring of its laws after Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Law of 1998 of the United States. It was in the form of an additional section on Corporate Reorganization under Chapter 3, which became effective also in 1998. The provisions of the country’s bankruptcy laws undergo constant review and amendments to adjust to the demands of the times. This particular restructuring measure required proceedings that sought judges with special training and expertise in the field and the creation of procedures for the Bankruptcy Cases Act that became effective in 1999.
The present Central Bankruptcy Court handles all bankruptcy cases, civil and criminal cases involving bankruptcy. While the law provides for the establishment of regional bankruptcy courts, only the Central Bankruptcy Court exists to hear bankruptcy cases. Cases filed in the region must be transferred to it. This new law guarantees a faster and more efficient handling of bankruptcy cases for creditors and debtors.
This is an involuntary state wherein a debtor allows the distribution or confiscation of his assets by creditors. The latter may initiate bankruptcy proceedings against an insolvent individual debtor who owes more than one million baht or an insolvent corporate debtor that owes more than 2 million baht. Insolvency occurs when a debtor performs certain acts in avoiding payment of debts or informs his creditor or creditors about his inability to pay his debt.
The Act provides for one Director Judge and one Deputy Director Judge. The Ministry of Justice may increase the number of deputy director judges through a decree but, in the beginning, there shall be 53 judges and 53 administrative clerks.
Only a creditor can initiate these procedures and only under the conditions above mentioned.
Moreover, the procedures can be filed and conducted only at the Court of First Instance of the Central Bankruptcy Court. They are to be added to and followed to existing laws and acts on bankruptcy.
This Act empowers or authorizes the Bankruptcy Court to compose its own procedures as it deems appropriate. This way, it bypasses normal legislative processes. These new rules or procedures shall, however, be subject to the approval of the President of the Supreme Court and must be published in the Government Gazette before they can be enforced.
A case must be heard continuously, i.e., without postponement until finished and a decision is reached. When there is risk of loss or destruction of evidence, the affected litigant shall request for a speedier trial by the court and to receive the evidence or testimony at risk. The court will send a writ to the applicant-litigant, the opposite party or a third party as the court may require. In case of urgency, the court will promptly issue a writ and authorize the official to confiscate or impound a document or material witness as conditions specify.
The court may also authorize other courts or court officials to secure the testimony of certain witnesses. This may be performed in the courtroom or outside. The Act allows expert testimony by either party in presenting his or her testimony or to rebut that of the opponent. Regulations of the Ministry of Justice entitle expert witnesses to fees, travel expenses, accommodations.
This Act allows either party to appoint a recipient of documents to be sent or on behalf of either party in the case. If either does not reside in the area under the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court hearing the case, it will order the party to appoint a representative residing in the area that is within the jurisdiction of the Central Bankruptcy Court to receive the document. There is a fixed duration for compliance. If the party fails to comply, the court may order the preparation of a notice of any document and affixing the document in court. The parties are then notified of the location of the notice where the document will be affixed. The notice becomes effective 15 days after the document is affixed. The transmission of documents will be as provided by the Civil and Commercial Code. This is by registered reply mail, which shall have the same effect as when sent by a court official.
The claims of secured creditors are prioritized. Proceeds from the sale of securities will be treated separately and given to them first. Unsecured claims and expenses are categorized and dealt with in another way by law. If the bankruptcy estate does not satisfy all the claims of all the creditors within that category, the claims will be dealt with pari passu or equitably within every category.
An insolvent debtor may avoid figuring in a bankruptcy case by composition or an agreement with the creditor or creditors with the court sanction. Upon declaration of bankruptcy, the insolvent debtor may be released from bankruptcy by meeting certain conditions like paying a certain part of his debt and remaining honest.
Another way an insolvent debtor can avoid a bankruptcy case is through restructuring of his debt. This approach is supervised by the court. It prevents creditors from immediately confiscating and distributing the insolvent debtor’s assets. Doing so will lead to the liquidation of the assets if the debtor is a corporation. Restructuring enables a distressed company to continue operating so that its creditors may be paid back and the company recovering more than when it is liquidated.
Restructuring may be the recourse if:
- The insolvent debtor owes more than 10 million baht or a government entity petitions for restructuring;
- If the court approves the application for restructuring if the business shows promise of successful reorganization;
- The creditors propose a rehabilitation plan;
- The court approves and appoints the plan preparer;
- The plan preparer submits the claims within a month;
- Creditors shall submit their claims within a month;
- The plan preparer composes the rehabilitation plan within three months. He is entitled to two extensions of one month each;
- The creditors meet and discuss the plan. They can propose changes within three days before the meeting;
- The creditors approve the rehabilitation plan through a special resolution;
The rehabilitation of debtor cases and related civil cases may be appealed with the Supreme or Dika Court within a month from the date of the verdict/. The President of the Supreme Court will set up a Bankruptcy Division to review appeals from the Central Bankruptcy Court. An appeal is acceptable if the Supreme Court deems it lawful according to the current Bankruptcy Law. The President of the Supreme Court may order the General Assembly of the Supreme Court to review it.
Constitution, Structure and Coverage
It consists of a general court of appeals and nine regional courts. The general court tries appeals to decisions or orders by the civil and criminal courts. On the other hand, regional courts of appeal hear those from other courts of first instance in regions 1-IX. The court president as the chief justice is assisted by the vice presidents in operating this court.
Section 219 of the 2007 Constitution confers to this court also the power to try election issues, such as revocation of election rights of local councils and administrators. A quorum requires a minimum of three justices. Each court has a research justice division composed of research judges who assist justices in the examination of case facts and issues. These research judges further discuss legal research or information with the justices for purposes of uniformity and fair verdicts. This court hears both civil and criminal cases.
Appeals for Specialized Cases
The government enacted Act B. E. 2558 in 2015 to enable judges with appropriate expertise in specialized cases to deal with them promptly as well as in uniformity and conformity with the new procedures for appeals and Dika appeals applicable to ordinary civil cases covered by amendments. It has five divisions, namely, the intellectual property and international trade court or IP & IT court, tax court, labor court, bankruptcy court, and the juvenile and family court.
Jurisdiction, its 20 Courts of First Instance
All appeals outside that of the nine regions are handled by the Court of Appeal. Those outside its jurisdiction may also be transferred to the regional courts according to Section 21 of the Law for the Organization of /Courts of Justice B. E. 2543. It also handles appealed cases on narcotics and human trafficking as provided by the Narcotic Cases Procedure Act B. E. 2550 and the Anti-Human Trafficking Procedure Act B. E. 2559.
The 20 courts of first instance within its jurisdiction are the civil court, the criminal court, the Thon Buri civil court, Thon Buri criminal court, Bangkok South criminal court, Bangkok South civil court, Minburi criminal court, Minbury civil court, Tling Chan criminal court, Taling Chan civil court, Phrakhanong criminal court, Phrakhanong civil court, Bangkok North Kwaeng court Bangkok North municipal court, Bangkok South municipal court, Thonburi Kwaeng court, Thonburi municipal court, Dusit Kwaeng court, Dusit municipal court, the Pathumwan municipal court, Pathumwan municipal court, Don Mueang Kwaeng court, Don Mueang municipal court, Bang Bon Kweang court, Bang Bon municipal court, and the Central criminal court for corruption and misconduct cases.
The Court of Appeal also handles these cases through its five divisions. These divisions are:
The Intellectual Property and International Case Division
By its name, this court reviews decisions on intellectual property and international trade courts by judges with expertise and authoritative insight on the lines. Complementarily, the division also tries civil and criminal cases relating to intellectual property and international trade cases. These cases are usually violations of intellectual property, such as trademarks, copyrights and patents covered by the Trademark Act, the Copyright Act and the Patent Act. Others are civil cases violating technology transfer and licensing agreements. International trade cases, on the other hand, relate to international sales, exchange of goods, financial instruments, carriage, services, insurances and related dealings. The Division also handles civil and criminal cases involving the layout and design of integrated circuits, trade or scientific secrets or discoveries, geographical information and protective measures for plant varieties .
Tax Case Division
As the name indicates, this division hears appeals on decisions on cases between the public and private sectors on taxes and revenue assessments or collections. Like other divisions, judges who review appealed decisions must possess appropriate and competent knowledge, experience and insight on taxes and tax issues. Most of the cases handled in this division involve claims of tax, revenue, debts and tax refunds by the government.
A Tax Appeal Committee is empowered to reaffirm, repeal, reverse and amend any tax assessment. The taxpayer may appeal within 30 days upon receipt of the decision of the Committee. But before this can be done, the taxpayer needs to pay all outstanding taxes or fines relating to the case he or she wishes to appeal unless the appeal is an injunction order of the Governor of the Revenue Department. All contested decisions by the appeals court will directly go to the Supreme Court within 30 days of the tax court’s decision or order. Appeals below 50,000 baht on the basis of a question of fact will not be accepted unless authorized by the presiding judge.
Labor Case Division
This division explicitly reviews dispute decisions on issues between companies and their workforce. Most common issues are employment agreements or contract stipulations, rights of employers and employees, and the laws on labor relations.
Bankruptcy Case Division
Judges in this division adjudicate appeals by using the law on bankruptcy. They also review civil and criminal cases where the bankruptcy law applies.
The country’s bankruptcy laws underwent changes in 1997 following the Asian financial crisis. It is now the subject of Chapter 3 on rehabilitation, which resembles the American concept in the US Chapter 11 document. Rehabilitation plans as against forced liquidation are today made available to both creditors and debtors.
Juvenile and Family Case Division
Judges review appealed decisions or orders by the juvenile and family courts based on the Civil Procedure Code or the Criminal Procedure Code. The division, however, does not accept appeals of judgments that concern children or young people aged 10 to 15 or to reduce the criminal penalty of minors.
Criminal offenses brought against minors or those transferred by another court with jurisdiction over the offenses; family law matters; well-being of juveniles and family members; protection issues and all similar cases against minors all fall under the jurisdiction of a juvenile and family court.